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  1. VagabondWraith
    8 arrests in international online narcotics market

    8 arrests in international online narcotics market

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A sophisticated online drug marketplace that sold everything from marijuana to mescaline to some 3,000 people around the world has been cracked with the arrests of 15 people in several countries, U.S. authorities announced Monday.

    An indictment unsealed in federal court in Los Angeles claims eight men ran "The Farmer's Market," which allowed suppliers of drugs — including LSD, Ecstasy and ketamine — to anonymously sell their wares online. They hooked up with buyers in 34 countries and accepted various forms of payment, including cash, Western Union and PayPal transactions, the indictment claims.

    From 2007 to 2009 alone, the marketplace processed more than 5,000 orders for drugs valued at more than $1 million, federal officials contended. It began operations as far back as March 2006, authorities said.

    The market "provided a controlled substances storefront, order forms, online forums, customer service, and payment methods for the different sources of supply" and charged the suppliers a commission based upon the value of the order, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.
    "For customers, the operators screened all sources of supply and guaranteed delivery of the illegal drugs," the statement said.

    The alleged ringleader, Dutch citizen Marc Willems, 42, was arrested Monday at his home in Lelystad in the Netherlands, officials said.

    The other seven men named in the indictment were arrested earlier at their homes in Bogota, Colombia and in Iowa, Michigan, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, and Florida.

    The 12-count indictment charges all eight men with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and money laundering conspiracy. Some of the men also are charged with distributing LSD and taking part in a continuing criminal enterprise.

    All could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of conspiracy.

    In addition, seven other people were arrested on suspicion of drug crimes Monday in the Netherlands, Georgia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and authorities seized hallucinogenic mushrooms, hashish, LSD, marijuana and Ecstasy, the U.S. attorney's office said.

    The investigation led to those arrests, but authorities still were trying to determine their connections to the online marketplace, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin S. Rosenberg.

    The two-year investigation, dubbed "Operation Adam Bomb, "involved law enforcement agents from several U.S. states and several countries, including Colombia, the Netherlands and Scotland, the U.S. attorney's office said.

    The case was filed in Los Angeles because some of the customers and an undercover agent who bought drugs through the marketplace are from the area, Rosenberg said.

    "Illegal narcotics trafficking now reaches every corner of our world, including our home computers," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in the statement. "But the reach of the law is just as long. ... We want to make the Internet a safe and secure marketplace by rooting out and prosecuting those persons who seek to illegally pervert and exploit that market."

    The marketplace "was distributing dangerous and addictive drugs to every corner of the world, and trying to hide their activities through the use of advanced anonymizing online technology," said Briane M. Grey, acting special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Field Division for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    The marketplace allegedly used the Tor network, which spreads website and email communications through a volunteer network of servers around the world in order to mask Internet address information.
    Tor originally was developed at a project of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to protect government communications. The free software and open network is used to prevent websites from tracking users, getting access to websites blocked by Internet providers, and providing anonymity for online users and online publishers. It is used by "normal people, the military, journalists, law enforcement officers, activists, and many others," according to the Tor Project website.

    http://news.yahoo.com/8-arrests-international-online-narcotics-market-185957622.html

Comments

  1. Alfa
    Re: 8 arrests in international online narcotics market

    DEA Press release:

    Creators and Operators of On-line Narcotics Marketplace on the TOR Network Arrested on First of Its Kind Federal Indictment Charging Drug Trafficking in 34 Countries and 50 States
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    April 16, 2012
    LOS ANGELES - Federal, state, and international law enforcement authorities have arrested eight people who all face federal drug trafficking and money laundering charges stemming from their creation and operation of a “secret” on-line narcotics market place – known as the “The Farmer's Market” – which sold a variety of controlled substances to approximately 3,000 customers in 34 countries and 50 states.​

    This morning, law enforcement authorities in Lelystad, Netherlands, arrested the lead defendant, Marc Willems, at his home. Yesterday, law enforcement officials in Bogota, Colombia, arrested the second defendant, Michael Evron, a United States citizen who lives in Argentina, as he was attempting to leave Colombia. The remaining defendants, Jonathan Colbeck, Brian Colbeck, Ryan Rawls, Jonathan Dugan, George Matzek, and Charles Bigras were arrested at their respective homes in Iowa, Michigan, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, and Florida. ​

    The 66-page indictment, which was unsealed today, was the result of “Operation Adam Bomb,” a two-year investigation led by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Los Angeles Field Division, with significant assistance by the Netherlands Regional Police Force Flevoland, prosecutors from the International Legal Assistance Center North East Netherlands, United States Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the DEA’s country office in Hague, and the United States Postal Service. The arrests of the defendants took place due to the cooperation and assistance of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, the Colombian Central Directorate of the Judicial Police and Intelligence, Migracion Colombia, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and Federal/State/Local authorities in New York, Iowa, Georgia, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey. ​

    “Illegal narcotics trafficking now reaches every corner of our world, including our home computers,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr., whose office is handling the prosecution of the case. “But the reach of the law is just as long, and the Department of Justice will work with its partners, both nationally and internationally, to bring narcotics traffickers to justice, wherever they may hide. Working together, we want to make the Internet a safe and secure marketplace by rooting out and prosecuting those persons who seek to illegally pervert and exploit that market.” ​

    “The drug trafficking organization targeted in Operation Adam Bomb was distributing dangerous and addictive drugs to every corner of the world, and trying to hide their activities through the use of advanced anonymizing on-line technology,” said Briane M. Grey, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge. “Today's action should send a clear message to organizations that are using technology to conduct criminal activity that the DEA and our law enforcement partners will track them down and bring them to justice.”​

    The 12-count indictment charges that each of the defendants was a member of a conspiracy to distribute a variety of controlled substances world-wide through the use of on-line marketplaces that allowed independent sources of supply to anonymously advertise illegal drugs for sale to the public. According to the indictment, the operators of the on-line marketplaces provided a controlled substances storefront, order forms, on-line forums, customer service, and payment methods for the different sources of supply. For customers, the operators screened all sources of supply and guaranteed delivery of the illegal drugs. The on-line marketplaces handled all communications between the sources of supply and customers. For these services, the operators charged a commission based upon the value of the order. Customers of the on-line marketplaces have been identified in every one of the states of the United States and the District of Columbia and in approximately 34 other countries. There are thousands of registered users of the on-line marketplaces. The on-line marketplaces have multiple sources of supply offering various controlled substances, including LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), fentanyl, mescaline, ketamine, DMT, and high-end marijuana. Between January 2007 and October 2009 alone, defendants Willems and Evron processed approximately 5,256 on-line orders for controlled substances valued at approximately $1,041,244 via the on-line controlled substances marketplaces.​

    As alleged in the indictment, the Farmers Market, previously known as Adamflowers, operated on the TOR network. According to the indictment, TOR is a circuit of encrypted connections through relays on the TOR network that can be downloaded on home computers. TOR allows websites and electronic mail communications to completely mask IP address information by spreading communications over a series of computers, or relays, located throughout the world. The on-line marketplaces have accepted Western Union, Pecunix, PayPal, I-Golder, and cash as payment for illegal drug sales. ​

    According to investigators, this drug trafficking organization (“DTO”) attempted to operate online in secrecy, utilizing the TOR network, IP anonymizers, and covert currency transactions; but investigators were able to infiltrate the DTO and its technology during the course of the investigation.​

    Those arrested were:​
    Marc Willems, 42, a Dutch citizen living in Lelystad, Netherlands​
    Michael Evron, 42, a United States citizen living in Buenos Aires, Argentina​
    Jonathan Colbeck, 51, of Urbana, Iowa​
    Brian Colbeck, 47, of Coldwater, Michigan​
    Ryan Rawls, 31, of Alpharetta, Georgia​
    Jonathan Dugan, 27, of North Babylon, New York​
    George Matzek, 20, of Secaucus, New Jersey​
    Charles Bigras, 37, of Melbourne, Florida​
    An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.​

    Each of the defendants is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, which carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life, and money laundering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment. Defendants Willems, Evron, Jonathan Colbeck, Brian Colbeck, and Rawls are also charged with the distribution of LSD, which carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life. Finally, defendants Willems and Evron are charged with participating in a continuing criminal enterprise, which carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life and a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.​

    In addition to those named in the indictment, authorities arrested 7 other people this morning (2 in Netherlands, 1 in Atlanta, 2 in New Hampshire, 1 in Pennsylvania, and 1 in New Jersey). During the course of the arrests made in this case, federal agents and local law enforcement officers also seized substances identified as hashish, LSD and MDMA, as well as an indoor psychotropic mushroom grow, and 3 indoor marijuana grows.​
  2. hypernihl
    Feds shutter online narcotics store that used TOR to hide its tracks
    By Dan Goodin

    [​IMG]

    Federal authorities have arrested eight men accused of distributing more than $1 million worth of LSD, ecstasy, and other narcotics with an online storefront that used the TOR anonymity service to mask their Internet addresses.

    "The Farmer's Market," as the online store was called, was like an Amazon for consumers of controlled substances, according to a 66-page indictment unsealed on Monday. It offered online forums, Web-based order forms, customer service, and at least four methods of payment, including PayPal and Western Union. From January 2007 to October 2009, it processed some 5,256 orders valued at $1.04 million. The site catered to about 3,000 customers in 35 countries, including the United States.

    To elude law enforcement officers, the operators used software provided by the TOR Project that makes it virtually impossible to track the activities of users' IP addresses. The alleged conspirators also used IP anonymizers and covert currency transactions to cover their tracks. The indictment, which cited e-mails sent among the men dating back to 2006, didn't say how investigators managed to infiltrate the site or link it to the individuals accused of running it.

    Prosecutors said in a press release that the charges were the result of a two-year investigation led by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Los Angeles field division. "Operation Adam Bomb, " as the investigation was dubbed, also involved law enforcement agents from several US states and several countries, including Colombia, the Netherlands, and Scotland.

    Lead defendant Marc Willem was arrested on Monday at his home in Lelystad, Netherlands, federal prosecutors said in a press release. On Sunday, authorities arrested Michael Evron, a US citizen who lives in Argentina as he was attempting to leave Colombia. The remaining defendants—Jonathan Colbeck, Brian Colbeck, Ryan Rawls, Jonathan Dugan, George Matzek, and Charles Bigras—were arrested at their respective homes in Iowa, Michigan, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, and Florida. Attempts to reach the men for comment weren't immediately successful.

    The 12-count indictment charges all eight men with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and to launder money. Several of them are also charged with distributing LSD and taking part in a continuing criminal enterprise. Each faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

    The arrests come about a year after Gawker documented the existence of Silk Road, an online narcotics storefront that was available only to TOR users. The site sold LSD, Afghani hashish, tar heroin and other controlled substances and allowed customers to pay using the virtual currency known as Bitcoin, the article reported. It wasn't immediately clear what the relationship between Silk Road and Farmer's Market is.

    Farmer's Market had thousands of registered users who hailed from every one of the states of the United States and the District of Columbia, as well as 34 other countries, according to prosecutors. The site relied on multiple sources of various controlled substances. The suppliers, operators, and customers communicated primarily through the website's internal private messaging system.

    In addition to the eight arrests, authorities arrested seven other people on Monday. In the course of the arrests, authorities seized hash, LSD, and MDMA, in addition to an indoor psychotripic mushroom grow and three indoor marijuana growing operations.

    Photograph by images.cdn.fotopedia.com

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/...tm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss
  3. YIPMAN
  4. mre227
    is this part of the Silk Road market place?
  5. YIPMAN
    No, it is not - two different places, although they apparently share similarities. More detailed discussion wouldn`be appropriate - AFAIK - as detailed debate on this topic is discouraged.
  6. Porcupine Tree
  7. Alfa
    Check this tag for similar busts: busted websites

    We are currently expanding this tag, so more threads will be added to it.
  8. squeezix
    Well, it was only a matter of time. It's actually kind of sad that the US has put so much money into law enforcement job creation. We have a lot of problems here with domestically made painkillers and tranquilizers that it seems a waste to hire so many teams of techs to break open this stuff.

    And Hushmail has been giving everything up for many many years.
  9. Euphoric
    Any idea how this bust was achieved? Did individuals involved slip up or were the state's intelligence and computer skills sufficient to track the accused?
  10. losfreddy
    Hushmail, paypal, and infiltration. Tor did not fail. Some vendors are not listed on the indictment. The DEA bought drugs off this site and i do believe a LEO became a vendor and hence learned many important details of the operation. Also, there were two physical cash drop PO Box addresses and at least one vendor sent packaged out with a return address on them ;c There was all sorts of mistakes, but the site was also invite only. Its a damn shame. FM was a the best
  11. Alfa
    There are many ways this can happen. Some thoughts to consider:

    TOR is not 100% safe. Governments have long recognized the inconvenience of TOR (especially the German government), and have invested in clusters which are part of the TOR network.

    Social Engineering can easily corrupt & compromise illegal websites.

    Sources sites are so interesting to authorities, that some sites are set up as virtual honey pots. Platinum members can find more about this in the platinum forum.
  12. mersann
    Alfa, I asked you to cite sources for your claim that the German government is particularly aggressive against TOR before: http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1048602#post1048602

    Now, don't get me wrong: I am German and I really don't like our government at all (starting with drug policy to general freedom of speech policy, I disagree with basically everything they do) -- and I know that they have taken down TOR nodes on the basis of things such as "spreading child pornography" before, which of course is a part of the TOR network (they have taken them down, but no real legal consequences ever followed), but I have never seen the kind of reasoning you use for shutting down TOR nodes, even though I read several blogs and news sites critical of the developments with regard to our government attitude which would most likely have posted such a thing. I would be really interested in the kind of source that proves something with regard to that -- because claiming random things that can't be proved do not prove 'our' point whatsoever.
  13. Alfa
    I made these statements based upon leaked 2008 classified court documents which I officially have not seen. ;) But I also remember reading articles online about rotten apple clusters/nodes, that indicated what the classified documents showed. I will search for the latter.

    Meanwhile I will leave you with this:
    Compromising TOR Anonymity
    One Bad Apple Spoils the Bunch: Exploiting P2P Applications to Trace and Profile Tor Users
    One cell is enough to break TOR anonymity

    https://blog.torproject.org/comment/reply/367/9167
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